The Ranks of Women GCs are Growing
Industry TrendsLegal, Risk, and ComplianceExecutive Search
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June 01, 2017
Industry TrendsLegal, Risk, and ComplianceExecutive Search
More and more women are being hired for the top lawyer jobs in Fortune 500 companies, and more of them are being hired via external searches instead of promoted from within.

Big Law Business

The Big Law Business​ article, “The Ranks of Women GCs are Growing​,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Cynthia Dow about our study, "More ​Gender Diversity​ ​Among General Counsels​​." The article is excerpted below. 

In 2016, 35 percent of new Fortune 500 general counsel jobs were filled by women, whereas in 2012, women made up only 24 percent of new hires, according to an advance copy of the study provided to Big Law Business. What is more, the number of women hired as GC from external positions has jumped in the past three years. Traditionally, women have joined the GC ranks primarily through inside promotions, but in 2016, as many women GCs were hired from externally as internally.​ 

“There is a critical mass of qualified women for external searches,” said Cynthia Dow, who leads the global legal and compliance officers practice at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates and co-authored the paper.​ 

Currently, about 25 percent of Fortune 500 GCs are women according to Dow. In 2014, they accounted for 21 percent. 

Dow conducted her analysis in collaboration with Lloyd Johnson, founder and executive director of the Women’s In House Counsel Leadership Institute, a networking organization with the goal of increasing the percentage of women GCs in the Fortune 500 to 35 percent by 2020. Dow and Johnson have been tracking Fortune 500 GC demographics for the past five years.​ 

To read the full article​, click here.